“ this is another tree you’d chop off in a heartbeat”. I have a reputation to uphold, you know
What variety is your apple?
@Auburn, Bill and I could assure you that bagging apples is very effective way to protect your fruit with no spray (after bagging).
Your yard has serious soil, moisture issue, I think. It may be too much moisture in your soil. Pleae consider growing all yoir fruit trees in raised beds. I have found that apples on M7 or G 41 work fine with me. They produce by year 3 and they are not big trees. My yard is small. I do not want or need big trees.